Año says street protests not yet allowed under GCQ
MANILA, Philippines — Street protests are still prohibited even if some areas have been downgraded to the less strict general community quarantine (GCQ), Interior Secretary Eduardo Año on Wednesday said.
“Under GCQ, mahigpit pa rin tayo sa mass gathering. Huwag lalagpas ng sampu dapat may physical distancing kasi nga ang dami pang cases saka talaga under GCQ,” Año said over Unang Balita when asked protocols for protests during general community quarantine (GCQ).
(Under GCQ, we are still prohibiting mass gatherings. Not more than 10 people are allowed to gather and have physical distancing as there are still many cases under GCQ.)
“Hindi pa pwede gawin ang lahat ng normal ng ginagawa. Merong ibang paraan na mag-express ng protesta at hindi kailangan makaabala sa ibang tao,” he added.
(Normal activities are not yet allowed. There are other ways to express protest that will not disrupt others.)
Last week, police officers arrested members of progressive groups in Cebu for holding protests against the controversial anti-terror bill. Six jeepney drivers, including a 72-year-old man, were also detained in Caloocan City after staging a protest over the loss of their livelihood.
Año, meanwhile, appealed to anti-government protesters to read the anti-terror bill, noting that the proposed measure has safety nets to prevent abuse.
“Ang gusto natin sana basahin nila ang buong anti-terror bill kasi lahat ng pinoprotesta nila wala naman sa anti-terrorism bill at pangalawa lahat naman ng safeguard nandun sa anti-terror bill. Kahit isa isahin natin yun, naniniwala ako na protektado ang mamamayan.” Año said.
(What we want is for them to read the whole anti-terror bill because all of their complaints because all their protests were not mentioned under the anti-terror bill and second all safeguards are there in anti-terror bill. Even if we mention the provisions, I believe it will protect the public.)
The anti-terror bill, which has been transmitted to President Rodrigo Duterte for his signature, has been criticized by personalities and human rights organizations as it could be abused and used to go after those who will express dissent against the government.
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